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7 Best CPU Coolers for a PC in 2024

Case Mod concept with RGB CPU air cooler, case led kit, RGB ram.

7 Best CPU Coolers for a PC in 2024

No matter if you are trying to build your next PC or looking to give your current model an upgrade, a new CPU cooler can make a big difference. As the CPU is the heart of every computer, optimal cooling is important to ensure you are not overheating your equipment. For gaming PCs, in particular, choosing one of the best CPU coolers can make a big difference as far as everyday performance. 

Unsurprisingly, when your CPU gets hot, it runs slower to avoid additional damage. The result is that your computing speeds are slower so games won’t run as fast. Multitasking also becomes more difficult and your annoyance level will quickly grow. Rest assured if you invest in one of the best CPU coolers listed below, you can help keep your CPU going longer with better performance in the long run. 

#1 Best Overall: Noctua NH-D15S

Best Overall
Noctua NH-D15 chromax
$119.95
  • Features 2 x 140mm fans
  • Includes 6 different heatpipes
  • Supports automatic fan speed control
  • NT-H! thermal paste included
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03/10/2024 09:16 am GMT

Even with so many different best CPU cooler options available in 2024, the Noctua NH-D15S stands out. 

Right away the Noctua NH-D15S manufacturer lets you know it has won over 300 awards across different hardware websites. If this doesn’t convince you, the 140mm dual-tower design with its 6 heat pipes and dual fans likely will. Noctua is so confident in its build that it indicates cooling efficiency with the NH-D15S is equivalent to an all-in-one water cooler

The dual-fan design offers very low noise, which is another major bonus for Noctua. The last thing I want is a fan that is too loud to hear me think. Even with your CPU running at 100% levels, the NH-D15S fans can stay whisper quiet. 

One major bonus is that Noctua provides a 6-year warranty and support across both Intel and AMD lineups. Plus, you get 64mm of clearance with the heatsink to make way for higher-end RAM modules.

ProsCons
Comes highly recommended Some people may prefer liquid cooling
Whisper quiet performance RAM compatibility drops to 32mm in dual-fan mode

Check out the Noctua NH-D15S on Amazon.

Best 360mm: NZXT Kraken Z73

Best 360mm
NZXT Kraken Z73
$499.00
  • Customizable 2.36-inch LCD screen
  • Ultra-quiet performance
  • User-friendly software
  • Simple to install
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03/10/2024 07:21 pm GMT

If you can stomach the higher price tag, the NZXT Kraken Z73 is undoubtedly the 360mm CPU cooler to beat. 

The highlight of the NZXT Kraken Z73 is its customizable 2.36-inch LCD screen. With 24-bit color, you can personalize the look of this best CPU cooler in a variety of ways. You can add custom images, add GIFs, or see data that gives you a sense of cooler performance. To do this, all you have to do is download a piece of software, and, voila, you can manage the cooler’s performance and appearance. 

As far as performance goes, you get what you pay for. The included Aer P radiator fans are fantastic as liquid coolers. If you are a die-hard PC builder, you’ll know exactly what a chamfered intake means and the Kraken Z73 delivers on this front. The same goes for its fluid dynamic bearings, which combine with the intake to provide you with ultra-quiet performance. 

Fortunately, for the price tag, the NZXT Kraken Z73 is compatible with the latest Intel and AMD CPUs. 

ProsCons
Ultra-quiet performance Might be too pricey for some
Fun LCD personalization No RGB colors on the fans 

Check out the NZXT Kraken Z73 on Amazon.

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Liquid cooling is a more efficient solution when you have powerful PC components giving off a lot of heat.

Best Liquid Cooler: Corsair iCUE H170i Elite XT

Best Liquid Cooler
Corsair H170i Elite XT 420mm RGB Liquid CPU Cooler
$299.99
  • Premium option
  • Powerful fans and 420mm radiator
  • Fun LCD personalization
  • Outstanding cooling performance
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03/10/2024 07:26 pm GMT

In the PC builder community, there are plenty of those who swear by liquid cooling and the Corsair H170i Elite XT

A definite premium option, the Corsair iCUE H170i Elite XT offers the best combination of performance and low noise. With its powerful fans and 420mm radiator, you will have strong CPU cooling. On top of the strong cooling, the Corsair’s powerful fans can speed up to 1,700 RPM while only delivering 33.8 decibels of sound. 

As a bonus, you can even drop your fans to 0 RPMs to stop your fans completely if your PC is at a low temperature. This might be perfect when you need to join a video call for work. 

Beyond performance, the iCue H170i is all about looks. The 2.1-inch 480 x 480 resolution LCD offers over 16.7 million colors. With this, you can personalize your LCD and get all kinds of cooling information, song info, memes, GIFs, or a team logo. 

ProsCons
Outstanding cooling performancePricey
Fun LCD personalization Only available to those with enough space

Check out the Corsair H170i Elite XT on Amazon.

Best Compact Liquid CPU Cooler: Corsair H60x RGB Elite

Best Compact Liquid CPU Cooler
Corsair H60x RGB Elite Liquid CPU Cooler
$79.99
  • Very compact liquid CPU cooler
  • Fully customizable RGB lighting
  • Thermal optimization with a copper plate
  • Simple installation
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03/10/2024 11:22 pm GMT

If you only have space in your PC case for a compact liquid CPU cooler, the Corsair H60X RGB Elite is the way to go. 

Compatible with both Intel and AMD motherboard sockets, the Corsair H60x RGB Elite is a budget-friendly liquid cooling option. With a 120mm radiator and a 120mm fan to keep things cool, there is plenty of fan speed available. 

Airflow can be delivered between 400 and 1,500 RPMs, which varies based on the overall CPU temperature. Add in thermal optimization with a copper plate and not only are you keeping your CPU cool, you’re also keeping it quiet. 

Of course, what fun would the H60x be without fully customizable RGB lighting? You have 16 separate LED lights on the LCD and 8 more on the fan itself. Personalize the look with iCUE software and match the colors up to the rest of your PC system. 

ProsCons
Very compact liquid CPU coolerNo personalized LCD display
Great personalized lightingMounting requires some practice

Check out the Corsair H60X RGB Elite on Amazon.

Best Air Cooler: Thermalright Phantom Spirit 120E 

Best Air Cooler
Thermalright Phantom Spirit 120 SE ARGB CPU Air Cooler
$35.90
  • Compatible with both AMD and Intel CPUs
  • Fully aluminum fan fins
  • Quiet performance at 25.6 decibels
  • 4th Generation technology
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03/10/2024 11:27 pm GMT

If liquid cooling isn’t for you and air cooling is exactly what you want, the Thermalright Phantom Spirit 120E is a terrific choice. 

Compatible with both AMD and Intel CPUs, you have different mounting plates included for each. Compatibility aside, Thermalright provides you with up to 20,000 hours or 833 straight days of use. 

To help make things go for that long, Thermalright adds fully aluminum fan fins, which help ensure maximum heat dissipation. When you factor in the outstanding thermal paste Thermalright uses, you have a CPU cooler that is worth every penny. Plus, you get an RPM speed up to 1,500 at a maximum of 25.6 decibels. 

Of course, what good is one of the best CPU coolers if it doesn’t have RGB lighting? The Thermalright Phantom Spirit 120E offers 17 different modes of light effects. The 120E even smartly matches its colors to your CPU casing, to help create a “cool” factor. 

ProsCons
Excellent coolingOnly includes a single fan
Quiet performance at 25.6 decibels No liquid cooling

Check out the Thermalright Phantom Spirit 120E on Amazon.

Best All-in-One: Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360

Best All-in-One
ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 360
$90.08
  • Award-winning performance
  • Very easy installation
  • More efficient cooling plate, radiator, and pump
  • Multi compatible
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03/10/2024 11:41 pm GMT

In the world of all-in-one best CPU coolers, there are plenty of great choices but the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360 stands out. 

To beat out all of the other AIO coolers, the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360 includes a more efficient cooling plate, radiator, and pump. Combine all three of these hardware elements and you have the Arctic difference. As a bonus, you also have an additional 40mm VRM fan that can provide even more cooling to the CPU. 

With only one cable extending from the Liquid Freezer, installation is very easy. When installed, Arctic claims its AIO can offer some of the lowest temperatures for an AMD CPU. Similarly, it also provides a very low decibel count under a 100% heavy load. 

If you’re not already sold, the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360 is compatible with the latest Intel processors as well. As the recipient of the “European Hardware Award 2022” for best CPU water cooler, the Liquid Freezer II is worth looking at twice. 

ProsCons
Award-winning performanceFan speed only up to 1,800 RPM
Lowest noise levels of any AIO CPUNo RGB lighting

Check out the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360 on Amazon.

Best Compact All-in-One: NZXT Kraken M22

Best Compact All-in-One
NZXT Kraken 120
$84.99
  • RGB color and lighting
  • Great single-fan performance
  • Ultra-quiet performance
  • Reinforced extended tubing
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03/10/2024 11:46 pm GMT

As good as all-in-one CPU coolers are, sometimes you need something that takes up a little less space like the NZXT Kraken M22.

In general, NZXT is widely regarded for making some of the best CPU coolers, so it’s no surprise to see the Kraken M22 on this list. Using a single 120mm radiator, the Kraken offers fantastic thermal performance. When combined with an Aer P radiator, the liquid cooling goes to work and helps the M22 immediately cool things down. 

Along with the radiator, the reinforced tubing (nylon sleeves) helps shield the cooler tubes from any potential damage under load. 

The 120mm fan helps you work with any size case so you have the right amount of cooling. Whether it’s for gaming or heavy video editing, the Kraken delivers on cooling. The Kraken also delivers RGB color and lighting. Choose any color of your choice and light up the inside of your PC case for a little extra personalization. 

ProsCons
Great single-fan performance RGB coloring is limited to RGB cap
Ultra-quiet performance Only available in black

Check out the NZXT Kraken M22 on Amazon.

Avoid HP RGB gaming PC
Adding one of the best CPU coolers to your PC will help prolong its life considerably.

How to Pick the Best CPU Cooler: Step-by-Step

When it comes to choosing the best CPU cooler for your PC, there are a few factors to look at: 

  • Liquid versus Air
  • Price
  • Compatibility 

Liquid versus Air

When you use an air cooler, you are using fans in combination with a heatsink to make sure heat is dissipated around a CPU. A liquid cooler uses a water block, pump, and radiator to move cool liquid all around a CPU to dissipate heat. The difference between these two is that there are plenty of cheerleaders on both sides. 

Subjectively speaking, liquid coolers tend to lean more on the quieter side as compared to air coolers. However, air coolers are also less expensive. This said, if silence is golden with your CPU operation, a liquid cooler is probably the best bet. On the other hand, if you want to save some money that can go toward other CPU-built components, going with an air cooler can be the right path. 

Price

Piggybacking on the top of liquid versus air cooling for the best CPU coolers, price is a big factor. Liquid coolers can easily run over the $200 mark for a three-fan build. You might be able to find some strong options around the $150 mark, but you can expect to pay more than for an air cooler. 

Standalone air coolers can get closer to the $100 mark for two-three fans while a single fan can be as low as $35. This is a considerable price difference and if you’re on a budget, it’s something to consider. 

Compatibility 

While compatibility shouldn’t be an issue overall, you want to make sure you have the best CPU coolers for your CPU. All of the options on this list are compatible with both Intel and AMD’s latest CPUs, but this isn’t universally true. You can easily find a CPU cooler that is only compatible with one system and not the other. The same can be said for the RAM module size that can be fitted around the CPU cooler. You want to make sure you have enough space for RAM as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the number one best CPU cooler for a PC in 2024?

The number one best CPU cooler for a PC you can find today is the Noctua NH-D15S. 

How does liquid cooling work?

Liquid cooling works by creating a closed loop around your CPU and flushing cold water around it. 

Do you need a CPU cooler for your PC?

If you want to help prolong the life of your CPU and or like to perform heavy tasks, a CPU cooler is highly recommended. 

Do you recommend air coolers as well?

Absolutely! The top choice on this list with the Noctua NH-D15S is an air cooler. 

Are all of the best CPU coolers compatible with Intel and AMD CPUs?

For the most part, CPU coolers should be compatible with both processors but this isn’t 100% true. 

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